Serena Williams won’t break Margaret Court’s record – and that’s OK

She is the greatest women’s tennis player of all time and deep down even her biggest critics know it. Wanting it to be beyond any plausible argument is merely completism

Anyone who’s followed the women’s tennis tour closely over the last year wasn’t too surprised when Serena Williams came up short in the US Open final against Canadian ingenue Bianca Andreescu in her latest bid to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 major singles titles. The only question entering Saturday’s match, same as last year’s championship showdown against Naomi Osaka, was whether a wildly talented youngster in her first grand slam final could hold her nerve against a champion twice her age. And same as last year, it wasn’t long before it was obvious Andreescu could.

Williams, who’s won grand slams in her teens (one), 20s (12) and 30s (10, a record), but has been stuck on 23 titles and one behind Court since the 2017 Australian Open, has reached the final in four of the seven majors that she’s entered since coming back from the birth of her daughter, failing to win a set in any of them. She turns 38 at the end of the month and is no longer so far ahead of the pack that another title feels inevitable. This is how sports work.

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